Opera "Pilgrim's Progress" to be Discussed at Th@U

By Barb Lang

The next Thursdays @ the U lecture on April 3 will feature Dr. Richard B. Brunson, Assistant Professor of Music at UW-Marshfield/Wood County. This presentation will be held from 12:30 – 1:20 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall at UW-Barron County in Rice Lake.  All series presentations are open to the public free of charge.

Dr. Brunson will be speaking on Vaughan Williams’s opera ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress.’  Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958) was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music and film scores; he was also a collector of English folk music and song.   

The 1951 premier of The Pilgrim’s Progress by Ralph Vaughan Williams was not a success.  Dr. Brunson will describe the problems with the opera and give possible solutions to the problematic musical work.  He will also share his findings from his studies of correspondence between the stage director and stage designer of the failed 1951 Covent Garden production. During his research, Brunson attended final rehearsals and a live performance of The Pilgrim’s Progress at Sadler’s Wells in London. Brunson will contest against the suggestion that this work is fatally flawed, but rather that The Pilgrim’s Progress is not only the crowning work of Vaughan Williams’s career, but is a profound work that deserves more frequent performance. 

The next Thursdays @ the U presentation will be on April 3 and will feature Quentin Vieregge, UW-BC Assistant Professor of English discussing his co-authored book “Agency in the Age of Peer Production.”

The Thursdays @ the U Lecture Series is sponsored by the UW-Barron County Foundation.  For more information, contact the campus at 715-234-8176.


Joel Friedeerich